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Can Acrylic Nails...

Can Acrylic Nails Solve Your Nail-Biting Problem For Good?

Do you suffer from onychophagia, or nail-biting? Discover whether acrylic nails are a safe solution for short, bitten nails and if they could even help you kick the habit for good.

Can acrylic nails fix your short, bitten nails? Better yet, are they a possible permanent cure for nail-biters?

While it's not the worst habit you could have, nail-biting can result in short, uneven-looking nails. While incredibly-short nails can be a fine look for everyday wear, there are times that call for an elegant manicure. Could acrylics be the solution?

While nail-biting is embarrassing and frustrating to many of us, it doesn't mean you're a failure as a human being. Not even close. In fact, according to journalist and serial nail-biter Cheryl Wischover, researchers believe that nail-biting is a common trait for perfectionists.

Why Do Some of Us Bite Our Nails?

For many of us, nail biting is a habit that started in childhood. According to psychologist Dr. Mary C. Lamia, the habit is so common it even has a technical name—"onychophagia". However, the reasons behind it are a lot more complex and mostly likely vary among nail biters. Regardless of when or why you started, it's not a dangerous habit for most of us. It's just not exactly conducive to hands that appear well-groomed.

If you've already tried many of the common tricks to stop biting (a reminder rubber band around your wrist or even that nasty-tasting nail polish) heading into the salon for a professional manicure can seem like a logical next step. However, is it safe? And more importantly, could it possibly cure you of your biting habit for good?

Will Acrylics Help You Kick Your Habit?

There are few absolutes in the world. However, acrylics have proven to be an effective cure for countless people. Not only was beauty writer Kelsey Manning prone to biting her natural nails down, she'd even chip away at standard nail polish so she could bite more. After trying everything, Manning achieved two months bite-free with short acrylics. She writes "if you're serious about dumping the nail biting habit, I truly believe this is the only possible way."

Others have achieved similar results. For Wischover, getting acrylics proved to be an effective solution to her compulsive nail-nibbling. She writes it worked "simply because biting acrylic is sort of like trying to gnaw through a toothpaste tube and isn't satisfying at all."

Vanity is rarely a cure for nail-biters. How often have you attempted an at-home manicure, only to find yourself picking off the polish shortly after it dries? The secret sauce behind acrylics as a solution for onychophagia could be the fact that biting acrylics is really pretty terrible.

Are Acrylics Safe for Nail-Biters?

Not everyone is a great candidate for acrylic nails. Beauty writer Samantha Johnston's attempt to kick her onychophagia through acrylics turned out to be a dead end. After walking into a salon, Johnston was informed by the receptionist that she'd need to do gel nails or stay natural, because "you need a bit of an overhang to slip the guide under during the application." If you've bitten your nails well-below the tip, you may need to evaluate a different kind of professional manicure with the same results.

However, for many of us, it's not only possible but completely safe. Provided they're applied professionally in a well-ventilated area, you're not likely to suffer any ill affects. While they may cause some damage to the nail tissue directly underlying the acrylics, Medical Doctor Larry Gibson says fake nails are unlikely to cause any long-term issues.

Few beauty treatments are ever 100% foolproof. If you're pursuing acrylics, there are some marginal risks to both biters and non-biters alike, which include viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. However, seeing a fully-licensed and professional manicurist and following care instructions for your new artificial nails is likely to remove the vast majority of these risks.

Please Don't Bite the Acrylics!

If you find yourself getting a strong urge to start chomping on your acrylics, stop. According to Medical Doctor Richard K. Scher, acrylic-based chemicals are toxic and should not be ingested. While the acrylic is generally safe on your nail bed, it's certainly not something you want to swallow. Acrylics are much harder than your natural nails and you could also damage your teeth; so if you're among the minority that find that your acrylics don't remove your urge to bite your nails, it's probably wisest to head straight back to the salon for professional nail removal. Your dentist will thank you.

Yes, Acrylic Nails are Generally Great for Nail-Biters

Can acrylics be a solution for your short bitten nails? There's a good chance the answer is yes. Seeking out a licensed and qualified manicurist could help you transform your bitten stubs into the long, elegant nails you've been waiting for.

However, it's important to remember that the reasons behind onychophagia can vary significantly, and acrylics aren't the right solution for everyone. Whether you find that acrylics, gel, or even therapy is what you need, you can achieve your goals of longer, healthier-looking nails.

Jasmine Gordon

Jasmine Gordon is a freelance writer who lives in the gorgeous rain forest of NW Washington state. Her writing on love, relationships and technology has appeared on XoJane, Time.com, and elsewhere.

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